Lists, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

It Was A Very Good Year

Welcome, VSB nation, to our final post of 2011 — a year that can be summarized in one word: Wow. 

It might take 5,000 words to list each memorable moment, so I’ll just settle for the highlights.

The release of a long-awaited book that garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews from many, including celebrities (well, celebrities to reading ninjas, at least) Helena Andrews…

 “Written by Damon “the Champ” Young and Panama Jackson, the two “very smart brothas” behind the blog of the same name, Your Degrees isn’t the latest literary money pit for pitiful women looking to “find, keep and understand a man.” Instead, the book, which reads more like a “best of” blog series (in a good way), is a case study in new-millennium mating for like-minded folk who live near a metro. The book is playful without being patronizing.”

…and The Artist Formerly Known As Sister Toldja

“The 250-page book has consistently remained on Amazon’s top-100 for both love/sex and humor titles since its release at the end of January…and for good reason! It’s a genuinely entertaining read. Though they’re both men, Panama and The Champ (the first Pittburgian…Pittsburger(?) that I ever knew outside of an August Wilson play) do a fantastic job at not throwing women under the bus, nor attempting to make too many excuses for guys when it comes to the behaviors that make the dating game a tough one to play.”

(Hint, Hint: “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night” would make for a great stocking stuffer. Humor, wisdom, and rachetness all in one cheap package. What more can you ask for?) 

The first annual National VSB Day — officially recognized now as February 10th of every year — an event where hundreds of fans of VSB gathered in various cites across the nation (Pittsburgh, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York City, Oakland/Bay Area, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami/South Florida) to meet, greet, and celebrate VerySmartness.

“Three Deez” — The VSB Three Year Anniversary Party and Book Signing — an event that took place on April 2nd, drew over 500 folks (Including numerous VSB veterans. Don’t even want to bother naming who all showed up because I don’t want to forget anyone, but lets just be safe and say that every f*cking body was there) and was notable for three reasons.

1. It marked the first time that Panama and I met in person. (Also was the first and only time that all three of us — Panama, Liz, and I — have ever been at the same place at the same time)

2. It managed to get VSB and SBM together for a picture…

…an instance that will surely be our version of the famous “Pac and Biggie when they were still cool” pic when VH1 does their “Behind The Music” special on black male bloggers in 2021. (If I had to guess, the segment will probably start off with a narrator saying “Everything was great…until that one fateful night in 2016 when Panama and Slim Jackson (no relation) decided on a whim to rob that Uni-Mart…”)
3. It produced this totally awesome video.

Panama appeared on The Ed Gordon show, and was a featured panelist at the Princeton University’s Hip-Hop: Arts & Life Symposium.

I had spots on the Michael Baisden Show and The Michael Eric Dyson Show, and was a featured panelist at Blogalicious 2011.

We were featured by The Washington Post, interviewed by The Root, named on The Root’s list of 30 Black Bloggers You Should Know, interviewed by Essence, profiled by Black Enterprise, and spotlighted by Edge Magazine. 

We won a record FIVE Black Weblog Awards — (Blog of The Year, Best Writing In a Blog, Best Humor Blog, Best Dating and Relationship Blog, and Best Blog Duo)

We were named on Ebony Magazine’s Annual Power 100 List

(Also, I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently we’re in this week’s Jet Magazine. Kelly Rowland should be on the cover.)

Panama, Liz, and I also continued to spread our wings to other parts of the internet. Editor gigs, writing contracts, featured columns, and Liz even managed to executive produce a series about women exactly like her.

Now, I can’t speak too much about our plans for 2012 yet, but I will say two things…

1. VSB will open the new year with a few, um, changes. I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen, but things will be very different around here. Don’t worry, though. These are good changes. (Well, we think they’re good changes, but that remains to be seen)

2.  You know how jaw-dropping it can be to see your favorite book on screen? Well, if “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night” is your favorite book, prepare to have your jaw-dropped in 2012.

None of this — the book, the awards, the recognition, our plans — would have been possible without VSB nation, and trust me when I say that we’re honored and humbled by your continued support. It’s completely amazing to think of how far we’ve come (and how much further we plan to go), and you’ve been there with us every step of the way. We are forever indebted to you, and we sincerely wish each of you a safe and happy holiday season.

See you in 2012

—The Champ

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Say what? A movie? If Tyler Perry comes anywhere near it, I’m boycotting.

  • Jay

    Congrats on 2011 as a whole!!

  • Maximillian

    Bravo fellas, and lady, bravo…

    Now about the free copy I won awhile back…

  • Congrats on a wonderful year, Panama, Champ & Liz. I’m so thankful for my older brother telling me about this site. I’ve loved every blog post and podcast (that needs to come back) on here.

    I wish VSB the best with all of your future endeavors in the upcoming year.

    Can’t wait for the movie to come out.

  • xLadyTx

    I’m so glad I came across this site when I did! You’ve kept me thoroughly entertained for months & I look forward to more. Congrats & sh*t. U guys deserve it!

  • jennifer


  • Keisha

    Congrats on a wonderful year. I thoroughly enjoyed all the posts and comments from the VSB family. I know I’m gonna go through withdrawals this next week, but I’m looking forward to bigger and better things from/for you all in 2012. :-)

  • It’s been a pleasure reading and hollering with you this year. I got the book. Good stuff. Looking forward to more belly laughs in ’12. Holla!

  • LO (literarily orgasmic)

    Felicidades! Congrats! Definitely looking forward to 2012….

  • Can’t wait for 2012!

    Excited for…
    VSB: The Movie
    Declining membership in the VSV club (*throws shade and condoms*)
    The alleged VSB BBQ that’s going to hypothetically happen

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